Mr. Traveling Honeymooner was unable to join us on this leg of the trip, unfortunately, because he had to return home to go back to work. Boring eh?! We forgive him though because by the time we made it to Portugal, we had already been traveling Europe for about three weeks, with my family. Anyhow, I stayed behind with a few family members and we toured part of the Douro Valley and Amarante during our stay. Everywhere we visited was absolutely gorgeous and boy did we have a blast! I think we ate and drank more in the last four days of our trip than the rest of the trip combined! By the way, eating paleo ad gluten free in Portugal is as easy as can be, so I got to eat my little heart out. If you are interested in our time in Porto and the Douro Valley, stay tuned…more post to come!
We had the pleasure of visiting this little town on our way back to Porto from the Douro Valley and loved every minute of it. Amarante is a small village with a population of about 12,000 people and is located in the northern Portuguese district of Porto, right on the Tamega River. It is a quint town that has a cozy and creative feel to it. When we arrived, we immediately felt a sense of calmness. We had to stop for a few minutes and just take in the views. There were not many people wandering the streets but we felt welcome and at ease. Even though the town center is small, they had a city center with restaurants, shops and a market. My favorite shop was an art supply store that was located along the main road. The store was small but had everything one would need to paint a beautiful piece of art or draw a pretty picture. The thought that kept running through my head as I walked the street was, ” I want to stay here for a week and just paint what I am experiencing.”
We visited the Sao Goncalo convent and church that is right across from the center of town. The first thing we noticed was that the doors of the empty church were open and it was free to enter. This was a bit shocking to us because we had been in Europe for about three weeks at that point and have never been able to enter a national monument for free. Once we walked in, we immediately noticed the gold leaf that lined the walls, which was stunning. We learned that Napoleon tried to demolish Amarate during his time and was successful in destroying almost half of the city, including one of the bridges that was located in the center of town. The original pictures still hung on the walls but had large pieces of frame missing because Napoleon’s army removed parts of the gold leaf coated frames to see if more gold was hiding inside.
A luxury hotel sits in the heart of Amarante called Casa da Calcada, where the Michelin Star restaurant Largo do Paco can be found. We did not get the chance to eat here because we were full from our fantastic lunch in the Douro Valley, but we have made a note to come back one day.
This small town has so much history that you can feel, just by looking around. Above is a picture of the floods they have had over the years. To give you perspective, the lowest waterline that was recorded was almost six inches over my head and I am 5’6”.
This little town has so much to offer. The people are kind, the sites are exquisite and the history dates back to the 4th century. My wish is to return here some day soon with Mr. Traveling Honeymooners and stay a night or two in Casa da Calcada.
Thank you for stopping by!
Mrs. Traveling Honeymooner